This is where variety really steps into my routine. I treat for blemishes, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation. Hyper pigmentation such as age/sun spots is usually the result of hormonal imbalance, so I'm attacking it from both ends by balancing my hormones (with my the aid of a "functional" medicine doctor) and using products that have ingredients known to help even skin tone.
Another issue with hormonal imbalance is breakouts in the hormonal "hotspot" areas. This is along the jaw, up the cheeks, and chin. I found Paula's Choice products around 1999, and began using her 8% AHA and 2% BHA gels. I've used them ever since because they make such a difference in my skin. I use the BHA in the morning since it doesn't make me sun sensitive, and use the AHA in the evening (it is sun sensitizing) when I'm not using Retin-A. Recently, however, I've tried the Stridex Maximum Strength Blemish Pads (2% BHA) and found them to be nice (and cheap!), as well. Sometimes BHA products can leave a slightly tacky feel on the skin, but none of these products do when applied to freshly washed, warm skin.
Treating Wrinkles and Hyper-pigmentation
Now that summer is waning (it's still technically summer here in the deep south), I've started back up on Retin-A. I know it's a long-haul run with this stuff for the maximum benefits, but I'm determined to make aging a little more comfortable with this. It's done amazing things for my mother who looks easily 20 years younger than she is. Unfortunately, I've been a bit on again, off again with this and I am suddenly feeling the fire to get with the program and get serious about it. So far, so good...I'm up to every other night without flaking or irritation thanks to the cream I'll be talking about next.
About a year ago, I had a sample of Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream for all skin types and found that, while a fairly heavy cream, it was the first "anti-aging" cream that actually seemed like it was doing something for my fine lines. As I always do, I looked up the ingredients and discovered that one of the marketed ingredients was just a fancy name for Kudzu. Yeah...that invasive vine that engulfs houses, trees, and everything in its path. Apparently, it has estrogenic properties, and given my crazy hormones, I can clearly see why it would work for me...and for women who were menopausal or post-menopausal. As estrogen declines, we are more susceptible to wrinkles and irregular pigmentation (link, link). Now, this in all likeliness won't be potent enough to alter your hormones internally, but topically, it has done wonders for me. It also seems (in my experience) to be more calming on inflamed skin than even cortisone cream, so I find myself relying on this to keep my occasional bout with eyelid dermatitis at bay (when I get Retin-A a little too close). After my sample was finished, I immediately splurged and bought a full size jar and use it day (if I'm wearing a mattifying mineral sunscreen) and night mixed with my Retin-A. We're all going to respond differently to different anti-aging ingredients based upon several different, very personal factors, but if your issue is hormones (specifically, low or falling estrogen levels), and you're seeing it in your skin, this is the cream for you.